It is a widely known fact that Filipinos are very hospitable people, so much so that they greet guests not by asking, “Kumusta (How are you)?” but by asking, “Kumain ka na ba (Have you eaten)?”
Such quirks and other peculiar Filipino traits are celebrated in Mabuhay Restop’s Manilla Vanilla--a unique musical comedy directed by Nestor U. Torre, with music composed by Ryan Cayabyab.
The show tells the story of a Filipino family as they prepare to open their home as a bed & breakfast. Served with deliciously self-deprecating humor and lighthearted song and dance numbers, the show will tickle your funny bones and serve as an enjoyable introduction to those new to Filipino culture.
Aside from a night of pop-cultural entertainment, audiences will also get to enjoy a delicious Filipino buffet of home-style dishes and different regional specialties.
Mabuhay Restop’s Manila Vanilla! stars Celine Fabie of the Ryan Cayabyab Singers and Spotlight Artist Centre's "Katy: The Musical," Astarte Abrahan of Resorts World Manila's "The Sound of Music" and Repertory Philippines' "A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino"; singer and comedian Andy Bais; and entertainer and Gawad Kalinga volunteer Edward Fernandez.
A Catalyst of Nation-Building
As a museum, travel café, and social enterprise in one, Mabuhay Restop is devoted to promoting Philippine culture and heritage in creative ways while making a difference. The social enterprise has committed to give 30% of Mabuhay Restop’s net income to Gawad Kalinga, a Filipino nation-building movement dedicated to eradicating poverty and restoring human dignity through building empowered and sustainable communities.
“At Mabuhay Restop, we want our guests to get to know and experience the Philippines like never before,” says owner and president Rose Cabrera, a UCLA-educated California lawyer and GK advocate. “We don’t just offer great food and entertainment; we also offer voluntourism tours and other avenues to provide visitors with an opportunity to create better lives for communities who need it most.”
To add to its repertoire of shows, Mabuhay Restop also offers something for the kids and kids-at-heart with Mga Kwento ni Tita Beauty, also written and directed by Nestor U. Torre. A spin-off from Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang, the show features creative and theatrical storytelling featuring 6 original Filipino and English tales imbibed with valuable moral lessons.
For a different Philippine travel experience, Mabuhay Restop offers the Voluntourism or Kalinga Tours. They provides visitors a totally different Philippine travel experience by taking them not just to beautiful tourist spots in Bicol, Bacolod, Palawan, and Davao, but also to several Gawad Kalinga villages, where they can experience the warmth and hospitality of the Filipinos, practice compassion in action, and understand the soul of bayanihan.
Additionally, Mabuhay Restop also offers the Bayan Tour, a 3-hour guided and interactive tour in Rizal Park for visitors who wish to learn more about the Philippines and the Filipino. This tour features the one-of-a kinds "I am Filipino" art exhibit with 12 Filipino artists like Ugu Bigyan, Nemi Miranda, Ramon Orlina, Ryan Cayabyab, JC Buendia and Ernie Francisco, and Albert Badz Magsumbol.
Ultimately, Mabuhay Restop aims to make a difference in the lives of Filipinos through social tourism and entrepreneurship. “We want to be able to set an example to other entrepreneurs by showing it is profitable to invest in the poor and partner with them through social enterprises.”